• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compariosn of pre 1914 and wilfred owen's poems

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

By comparing and contrasting a selection of war poems, consider the ways in which attitudes to war have been explored and expressed. When considering poetry written post 1900 concentrate on a selection of poems written by Wilfred Owen. War has been an influential topic for poetry for many centuries and through its catastrophic cruelty and sense of patriotism has created some of the most brilliant poets and most controversial poems ever written. With each different war comes different poets who want to write their views on it and just as motives of war differ, so do the opinions of the poets; some see war as barbaric and destructive, whereas others portray it as a way of ennobling oneself. Before the technology and media coverage we have nowadays, stories of battle were passed down by word of mouth and were often written in poetic form so they could be memorized easily. Just as the artillery used in the wars has changed, the way war is portrayed has as well. Before World War 1 began in 1914, it was seen as a glorious opportunity for men to serve and defend their country. In many poems war is compared to a game, for example in "Vitai Lampada" written by Henry Newbolt, the refrain "Play up! Play up! And play the game!" is repeated at the end of each stanza to try and rally the soldiers and ready them for battle. Newbolt uses the leitmotif of comparing fighting to playing a cricket match to ease the pressure off the soldiers by making it seem fun and competitive. ...read more.

Middle

The lines: "When the girls line up in the street, Shouting their love to the lads come back," implies the men will be seen as courageous and gallant for fighting. However, Owen explains this is not the case in the lines: "Now he will never feel again how slim, Girls' waists are, or how warm their subtle hands, All of them touch him like some queer disease". The metaphor "like some queer disease" expresses how the women are afraid he may be contagious and how they find him repulsive. Just as in "Dulce et Decorum est", at the beginning of the poem we think Owen is describing an elderly man because he uses the phrase "ghastly suit of grey" which infers old age. But then we discover how he "threw away his knees"; he chose to enlist for the army and that is portrayed a grave mistake, a waste of his life. The line: "Poured it down shell-holes till the veins ran dry" also infers that the man opted to fight as the verb "poured" suggests that he did it himself. In addition, Owen portrays how the boy was not motivated by principles to sign up: "Someone had said he'd look a god in kilts". He had been induced by vanity and also to "please his Meg"; once again the notion of impressing the women is used. Even though his face was "younger than his youth" the line "Smiling they wrote his lie: aged nineteen years," shows that the authorities were unscrupulous as they knew he was just a boy but still let him sign up. ...read more.

Conclusion

Owen portrays how there is no time for sentiment of the battlefield in the line: "The shrill demented choirs of wailing shells;" this personification is effective because when a person dies they are believed to be "at peace", but when you die on the battlefield the destruction and devastation carries on around you regardless. Owen portrays how the men came from ordinary backgrounds in the phrase: "sad shires" and he describes how the family of the soldiers' did have funerals for them back at home in the line: "what candles may be held to speed them all?" The devastation of their deaths is shown through the line: "the pallor of girls' brows shall be their pall;" suggesting that their girlfriends are sorrowful and also by using the plural it shows how a whole generation of women may not be able to find husbands because so many young men were killed in action. In the last line, a "drawing-down of blinds" is a fitting way to end the poem, but it could also be associated with traditional drawing down of blinds in a room where a dead person lies and furthermore it infers that so many soldiers' lives were now over. I enjoyed reading Wilfred Owen's poetry more than the pre 1900 poetry as it gave me a realistic view of what the effects of war were on the soldiers and their families. World War One was the most devastating and barbaric war to date and therefore I believe that Owen's poetry is more fitting as it gives a personal aspect to the poems, portraying the soldiers as humans, not just as statistics, but also showed them like animals to make the vast scale of the murders evident. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level War Poetry section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level War Poetry essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Explore how the theme of love is presented in Birdsong and a selection of ...

    4 star(s)

    in battle and whose legacies were etched into history with the poems they had written about their experiences. Owen is arguably the most famous and influential of all these poets, and no other war poem has evoked as much universal sensitivity as Dulce Et Decorum Est.

  2. Peer reviewed

    "With Specific focus on Wilfred Owen poems Disabled, Mental cases, Dulce et Decorum est, ...

    4 star(s)

    He talks about a young boy, who wants to get away from war, so decides to kill himself, "The hell where youth and laughter go." The people at home away from the war are unaware of the glory and young people sacrificing their lives for them.

  1. How does Owen stress the true horror of the First World War, and how ...

    Moreover, the mention of "god" again indicates the religious aspect of the war, maybe suggesting that by volunteering you will be siding with God. Finally, in the last stanza Begbie, possibly to serve his own ends, asks the rhetorical question: "It is nought to you if your country fall, and right is smashed by wrong?"

  2. War Poetry Pre-1914

    and was the sort of poem which persuaded men to sign up. This poem is about patriotism and it was criticised by poets such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon, both of whom fought on the western front. The next poem I have chosen is 'After Blenheim' by Robert Southey.

  1. Explain how different pre-1914 poets have explored the theme of Conflict in their poems

    Predictably - considering the War theme - the most prevalent of conflicts, appearing in all poems, being Life/Death. However, other major themes include Honour/Dishonour and Light/Dark. Honour/Dishonour is, as mentioned, a principal conflict throughout most of the poems. This is also not surprising...the worries of a great percentage of individual

  2. Comparison of Recalling war by Robert Graves and Mental cases by Wilfred Owen

    the reader of soldiers waiting for battle: oppressed, thrust out Boastful tongue, clenched fist and valiant yard. Natural infirmities were out of mode, For Death was young again The third stanza does not immediately change tone, however the feeling of fear increases as Graves dwells on thoughts of premature death and little on valiant yard.

  1. Explore the Portrayal of War in the pre 1900 poetry -

    King Henry continues to encourage the men by suggesting that men who did not fight at Agincourt would regret that they were not present to share in this glory. The men who fought in the battle, no matter who they were would gain a place in the British nobility.

  2. Comparison of Wilfred Owen Poems.

    In a way I get the feeling that Owen was mocking the saying but I do not think he was mocking the army as a whole just that single principal. The soldiers are weighed down by all the things that they are carrying, perhaps they are even weighed down by the expectation of their country.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work